The matters of whether a land is attractive to the tourists partly depend on its architecture. That is the reason why we put a short guide about Cambodian Architecture here. The unique creativity and timeless spirituality of the ancient Khmer had left Cambodia with dozens of special structures for mankind to study, explore, and contemplate.
Study the Cambodian Architecture – The Genius of the Ancient Khmer
In any research about Angkorian Architecture, the specialists put stress on the religion because all of the stone remnants of Angkorian buildings are dedicated to the religious purposes. Please note that most of the temples and religion-based buildings of Angkor had the typical designs, elements, and motifs! Differently, the non-religious structures such as dwellings were predominantly built from the perishable resources namely wood.
Nowadays, the local villages in Cambodia have been modernized. So, people coming to this country can learn both the ancient and new architecture. Featuring the good blend of history and modernity, the architecture of Cambodia remains the inspiring topics yet little recorded. Anyhow, know that the houses of the ancient Khmer people were elevated around two and a haft meter higher than the ground with the wooden ladder. Meanwhile, the walls were created by the straws or bamboo and the roof were covered with the thatched leaves of the dry coconut palms.
More especially, the Khmer temples were structured to symbolize the sacred residence of the gods with five towers (prasats). While the central tower reflects the Mount Meru, the four smaller towers represent the four divine mountains of the heaven. In the Hinduism, the gods were said to reside in the five hallowed mountains bordered by the cosmic ocean. So, when the five prasats were constructed, the moat was also built to surround the temples. The moat stood for the cosmic ocean.
Later, more temples were set up for the locals to worship Buddhism. The Buddhism temples’ architecture was less eminent than the Khmer Hinduism towers. But the stone carvings were preserved to showcase the stories of Lord Buddha and his teaching. Set aside the prominent temples, the ancient Khmer also shown off their architectural genius via the big reservoirs and dikes such as the East Baray and the West Baray.
Khmer Architecture – Building Materials and Significant Terms
The Cambodian temples were predominantly built in either sandstone or brick, usually in combination with laterite, tiles, and timbers. The ornamentation was also the notch of Khmer art. It’s obvious that the geometry of volumes and lines were considered to give the structures both light and share. The great harmony of building materials and decoration was emphasized at the time.
Do you know anything about bas-relief? The Cambodian architecture was said to be in the form of bas-relief. If the Khmer artists wanted to free themselves from limitation to express their personality via the architecture, it would be the narrative form of the bas-relief. The bas-reliefs were commonly found in the Khmer temples. Besides, it’s crucial to study some important terms used in Khmer architecture including Apsara (heavenly female figure), Linga (symbol of Shiva God), Meru (sacred mountain, home of the God), and Gods of Hindu trinity: Shiva (The Destroyer), Brahma (The Creator), and Vishnu (The Protector).